Religions hold different views with respect to euthanasia or mercy-killing. Recently, there has been growing pressure to approve a law that would liberalise this practice in the US. In most religions, this fact is alarming, especially considering the growing strengths in palliative care. Christians hold the view that this school of thought would jeopardise the society we live in, and hence should not be tolerated. Moreover, other religions, such as Islam and Judaism, strongly condemn this course.
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Muslims believe that these people belong to hell. Judaism detests this practice; however, it disapproves palliative care. To this end, they believe that a natural course should be allowed to prevail when in a desperate situation. Nonetheless, in the contemporary society, a case of Dr. Anna Pou shows the extent to which the society has been influenced. This essay highlights religious thoughts with regard to the whole issue of euthanasia, bringing into focus the extent to which our society has been influenced by courtesy of the Dr. Pou’s case.
Christianity disapproves the practice of euthanasia, since it goes against its values. Christians argue on three fronts regarding the whole issue of euthanasia. First, they believe that God made man in His own image, and hence no one should wilfully terminate another person’s life.
Secondly, every soul that graces the land is extensively interconnected with others such that one’s actions have a great impact on the others. In a word, a person is not fully autonomous to make his/her own decision regarding his/her life. Finally, the ratification of such laws would go ahead to make desperate people feel pressured to commit suicide (Schadenberg, 2013). Christians advise that governments should promote palliative care instead of euthanasia. However, in the U.S., palliative care is not fully supported.
Islam does not support euthanasia. According to Shari’a laws, euthanasia and suicide as such are unacceptable; and those who commit them belong to hell. Even a soldier who is badly injured does not have an authority to take his own life; Prophet Mohammed said “his lot is in hell” (Jumada 1).
Moreover, the code of ethics for Muslim medics condemns this practice by noting that no disease is unconquerable by proper medication. Moreover, Muslims believe that patience and endurance when in a painful experience will be rewarded in the afterlife. Meanwhile, the proponents of euthanasia do not believe in life after death, which makes the aforementioned beliefs redundant.
As regards Judaism, the concept of mercy-killing is not new. As much as Judaism understands the pain and suffering a victim’s family undergoes, it strongly condemns the practice. They understand that God is the only one who bears the authority to extinguish life. Not even when in extremely desperate situation is one allowed to take his/her own life.
They believe that life has no relativities i.e. the right to live is not determined by “age, color, sex, and physical disability” (Matris 3). Judaism believes in natural death, and hence they are against artificial means to prolong life of a ‘gosses.’ By definition, a gosses is a person that is about to die; he/she should be left to die patiently, at least according to Judaism.
The case of Dr. Pou epitomises the extent of damage to which euthanasia has caused the society. On July 6, 2006, the local news were riddled with the Dr. Pou’s story regarding the deaths of four people- victims of euthanasia. Pou explained to the judge that her action was purposeful to ‘help’ the deceased “through pain” (Fink, 2009). Ironically, the judge acquitted her and later, Pou proceeded to help frame laws that offered the healthcare fraternity “immunity against most civil lawsuits regarding mercy-killing” (Fink, 2009).
In conclusion, the influence of euthanasia in our society is slowly taking shape. Religious thoughts are seemingly unable to stem this practice which is surprisingly starting to enjoy governments’ support. At this rate, the views supporting euthanasia will dominate the world.
Fink, S. (2009). The Deadly Choices at Memorial. The New York Times, p. 28. Web.
Jumada, A. (2014). Euthanasia and mercy-killing. Islami City, p. 1. Web.
Matris, R. (2010). What is the Jewish view on euthanasia? Jewish Board News, p. 3. Web.
Schadenberg, A. (2013). Assisted suicides increase again in Oregon: patients being pressured to commit suicide. LifeSiteNews, p. 7. Web.